The Fulness of the Gentiles

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Today’s Passages – Romans 11 – 13; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 136 – 140; Proverbs 28)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51

Read the “1128 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Be Ye Transformed“; “What’s The Difference

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” – (Romans 11:25)

My preacher back in Texas used to share an illustration regarding Romans 11:25 that I thought was very profound. He said that he was on the lookout for the last Gentile that would be saved before God takes the Church up to Heaven. Dr. Gray is a tenacious soul winner, and he believes that this verse teaches that there will come a day when the “fulness” of the Gentiles will be complete. He wants to be the one who shares the gospel with that last Gentile.

When Jesus came to this earth, He offered Himself to the Nation of Israel as their Messiah. Though many of the Jewish people received Him (and still do today), the nation rejected Him:

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” – (John 1:11)

Because Israel rejected their Messiah, God has temporarily refocused His attention on the Gentiles. The good news of salvation – the Gospel – has been flowing freely to the Gentile nations of the world for 2000 years; but it seems to be coming to a close. I believe we are very close to the time when God will pull out of this earth all those that have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, via what we call the rapture. Christ is coming soon to take His Bride – the Church – back home to Heaven. Then God will once again turn His attention back on the nation of Israel; and someday Israel, as a nation, “will look upon [Him] whom they have pierced”, and will realize that they were wrong about Him.

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” – (Romans 11:26)

However, until that time comes, we who are part of the bride are to “occupy”, or stay busy, till He comes. We are to do our best to get the message of Christ to every person on the planet. Someday that last Gentile will be saved, and Jesus will take us home. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.


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It is Written – And Again

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Today’s Passages – Romans 14 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “1129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Responsibility“, “Giving Back“, and “Just One More Thing

“Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:7-13)

Notice in v. 9 (above) the phrase: “it is written”. Then notice the phrase “and again” used three times. Paul quoted from several Old Testament passages here to support what he was trying to teach to the believers at Rome.

Let’s look first at the context:

In Romans 15:7 – 13 Paul is admonishing the Jewish and Gentile believers to get along with each other. The Christian Jews had a tendency to look down their noses at the Gentile believers. They also held onto many of their Old Testament traditions, which they were entitled to do under grace. However, the Gentiles were not as concerned about these things and did not do them. The cultural differences of these two groups could sometimes cause friction within their churches. In chapter 14 and in the beginning verses of 15, Paul is challenging the saints to acknowledge that there may be different convictions and preferences observed by different believers. The believer with the stronger conviction, or perhaps a different preference, should not stand in judgment of the believer who did not share his conviction or preference. Between the Jewish believers and the Gentile saints, there were probably many such differences. Paul admonishes both groups in vs. 5 and 6 to get along. Why?  Because God had received them both.

In vs. 9 – 12, Paul reminds them of the mercy that God said He would show to the Gentiles by using four (actually five) passages from the Old Testament as supporting texts. Here are the supporting Old Testament passages:

Romans 15:9 was supported with these two Old Testament verses:

“Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.” (2 Samuel 22:50)

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” (Psalms 18:49)

Verse 10 is a paraphrase of:

“Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people:…” (Deuteronomy 32:43a)

Verse 11:

“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” (Psalms 117:1)

Verse 12:

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:10)

I was challenged by that fact that Paul used so many Scriptures to support his argument. Paul was obviously well versed in the Old Testament, and used it to back up his teaching, especially to the Jews. Many Christians today, and even preachers are weak in their knowledge of the Bible, and even those who may know the Bible, fail to use it enough to support their messages. The Bible should be the main source in our preaching and teaching because it is the only source of Truth. Our messages, whether formal sermons to our churches or merely informal instructions to our family and friends, need to be based upon and supported by the Bible. People need to know that our instructions to them are from God via His Word, not just some philosophy rooted in man’s opinion.


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“Whosoever” Meaneth Me and “Preacher” Meaneth Me, Too

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Today’s Passages – Romans 8 – 10 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 131 – 135; Proverbs 27)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 3:1

Read the “1127 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Paul’s Motivation

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14)

I love that hymn that we sing that is based upon Romans 10:13, “Whosoever Meaneth Me”:

I am happy today, and the sun shines bright,
The clouds have been rolled away;
For the Savior said, whosoever will
May come with Him to stay (to stay).

“Whosoever” surely meaneth me,
Surely meaneth me, O surely meaneth me;
“Whosoever” surely meaneth me,
“Whosoever” meaneth me.

All my hopes have been raised, O His Name be praised,
His glory has filled my soul;
I’ve been lifted up, and from sin set free,
His blood has made me whole (me whole).

Refrain

O what wonderful love, O what grace divine,
That Jesus should die for me;
I was lost in sin, for the world I pined,
But now I am set free (set free).

The song really says it all. What a wonderful truth it is to know that God loves people and freely offers salvation to “whosoever” comes to Him in faith. The “whosoever” in Romans 10:13 meant me also back in December of 1989 when the gospel of Christ was preached to me via Christian radio, and after listening for several weeks, I realized that I was a lost sinner headed for a Devil’s Hell. But, Praise God, I heard the sweet voice of the Saviour as He invited me to receive the free gift of eternal life, which he paid for through His shed blood on the Cross of Calvary. And this “whosoever” was gloriously saved. To God be the glory.

Notice the last part of the next verse: “and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14c) In order for people to believe the gospel, they have to hear the gospel, and in order for the gospel to be heard, the gospel must be preached. We who are saved have the responsibility and wonderful privilege of sharing the gospel with the people of this world whom God loves and is willing to save. There are a lot of other “whosoevers” out there that need salvation. Let’s do our part by telling them about the Saviour.

Note – the picture above was taken of Pastor Bob Gray II of Longview, Texas as he was out preaching the gospel in his community.


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Imputed Righteousness

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Today’s Passages – Romans 4 – 6; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 126 – 130; Proverbs 26)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1

Read the “1126 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. ” – (Romans 4:7-8)

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” – (Isaiah 53:6)

“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” – (James 2:23)

“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” – (2 Corinthians 5:19)

In our passage today, and in three of the verses above, you will notice the word “impute”. This word is not used today as commonly as it once was, but it precisely describes a wonderful truth about our relationship with God. The word “impute” means to record, or rekon to ones account. It is a word used more frequently in the financial world. For example if I make a payment to one of my crediters, that amount is imputed on the record. In other word, the record would show that a payment has been made.

As far as our relationship with God is concerned, the word “impute” means that Christ’s payment of blood on the Cross of Calvary was recorded on my account of sin. He did not pay for his own sin, because He knew no sin, but His payment was for me and you, if you are saved. The Lord’s atonement was put on my record. It gets even better. Not only did the Lord’s payment take care of all of my past sins, it also is sufficient to cover any future transgressions. The Lord “will not impute sin” to those that are saved.

This does not give us a liscense to sin, however:

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” – (Romans 6:15-18)

We should try our best to not yield to the sin that is in our human nature (“our members”), but, praise be to God, when we do fail there is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins that completely atones for our sins from the past, as well as our sins in the present and the future.


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God Has Not Changed His Mind About Sin

Today’s Passages – Romans 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “1125 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: … For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:24, 26-28)

The Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans from the vantage point of the City of Corinth near the conclusion of his third missionary journey. The city of Corinth was a very immoral place whose practices had crept into the church. There is even a report of an incestuous relationship between a man and his step-mother. Paul explains in the first chapter of Romans, from verses 18 – 32, the depravity of mankind, which he was seeing on a daily basis as he travelled through Corinth and the rest of the Roman Empire. Sin was everywhere, and it was not only accepted, it was even condoned by the mainstream of the citizens.

Today it has become much the same way in America. Sin seems to find no boundaries, and our society is steeped in its wickedness; and there are few who are voicing an opinion of opposition. In the verses listed above, we see that man’s rebellion against God eventually leads to unrestrained lusts, which will manifest themselves into many forms of sexual immorality including fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. In America today homosexuality is being forced down the throats of the people. The schools are spending millions of dollars convincing our children that the old fashioned concept of monogamous, heterosexual marriages are just not in step with today’s enlightened culture. The government is creating volumes of legislation designed to silence anybody who speaks against the madness that is consuming our country from the inside out.

Homosexuality is still sin. God called it an abomination in the Old Testament, and even destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of it. And though homosexuality was not specifically mentioned, I am sure that it was part of the “wickedness” that grieved God in Genesis 6 causing him to destroy the entire earth with a flood. Here in Romans 1, God reaffirms His disdain for sexual impurity, and though He loves people, all people, all sinners, including those who are guilty of homosexuality, He still hates the sin.

I do not think, however, that Christians should elevate one particular sin over another. It would be wrong for us to emphasize the wickedness of homosexuality and minimize other sins, which are just as sinful in the sight of God. Remember, God also said that “divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord, and a false balance is not good” (Proverbs 20:23), referring to cheating people in business transactions. It is all sin, and it is all displeasing to the Lord. But we must not call homosexuality or any other sin anything but what God calls it. The present culture will call you a racist or a homophobe if you do not go along with its pro-homosexual agenda. As Christians, however, we need to be far more concerned about God’s opinion than we are about what the world thinks is right. “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

In these last days, I can only imagine that man will continue to get further and further away from the will of God, but Christians must stand firm. Don’t be duped by this sinful generation into thinking that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality. It is sin. Don’t stop loving all people, including homosexuals. Don’t stop trying to share the message of forgiveness that is available to all of us sinners through the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. But don’t capitulate to this world either by calling homosexuality anything other than what it is – sin. We are all guilty of sin, but let’s not be guilty of disagreeing with God about what sin is.


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Except They Be Sent

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Scripture Assembly Crew 2016

Note – today is that extra day in the calendar year that comes every four years on a leap year. There is no scheduled reading for today. Read your favorite passage or use the time to get caught up if you have fallen behind.

Today’s Passage – read your favorite passage

(Second Milers read – Proverbs 29 – 31; Psalms 141 – 145Psalms 146 – 150)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” – (Romans 10:13-15)

Last night was the last night of our 2016 Missions Conference. Evangelist K. R. Senn has been used tremendously of the Lord  to stir our hearts about world missions. We have also had some great missionary guests with us, including Brother and Mrs. Scott Sandy from the Northeast Baptist Seedline. On Saturday, Brother Sandy lead us as we assembled over 10,000 John and Romans for churches in Maryland. We have had an awesome conference.

Please pray that our church will be more committed to fulfilling The Great Commission in 2016. I am asking God to do four specific things through this conference:

1  I want to see our people more committed to prayer, specifically prayer for missions and missionaries.

2  I want to see are people more committed to personal soul winning. Our church members need to be just as concerned about the soul of the man across the street as they are about the soul on the other side of the world.

3  I want to see our faith promise commitment increased. If our faith promise increases, so will our actual missions giving. If our giving increases, we will be able to better support the missionaries that we are committed to now, as well as take on some new missionaries. We have had to cut back some on missions giving in the past few years. I believe that God can turn that around now. I am asking our people to give sacrificially so that souls can be saved throughout the world.

4  I want to see someone from our church sent out as a missionary. I know that God has been dealing with a couple of our young men and women. I pray that He will make His will clear, and that they will be obedient to the call of God. As much as I don’t want to see anybody leave our church, I can think of no greater honor for a church than to be a part of sending a missionary out into the field; and I know that God will not only bless us for it, but will also send in more laborers to our vineyard.

Please pray that God will continue to work in our hearts and seal some decisions in our lives so that we can reach more souls for Him – here and all around the world.

PS – there is one more thing that we need to Lord to help us with: we need wisdom as a church to know how and where to best spend those missions dollars that he sends in. I have had to take a good hard look at our missions program in the last few days, and I know that there are some changes that need to be made. Pray that everything about our missions program will be completely inside the perfect will of God.


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Be Ye Transformed

Today’s Passages – Romans 11 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalm 136 – 140Proverbs 28)

Scripture Memorization for November – The Kenosis Passage – Philippians 2:5 – 11

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Watch Pastor Chappell’s Growth Points Video – “Think-fulness is Thankfulness

Read the “1128 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “What’s the Difference” and “The Fullness of the Gentiles

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:1-2)

In the Greek language, the word that is translated into the English word “transformed” is the word metamorphoo, which is the same word root word that names the process of metamorphosis. You may remember from high school biology that metamorphosis is the biological process by which a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. By the way, isn’t amazing that our God can take a something as “creepy-crawly” as a caterpillar and completely change it into a beautiful butterfly. God transforms the Christian in much the same way. He takes the worldly child of Adam and forms him into the image of Christ.

Notice from our text above that this transformation process comes through the “renewing of your mind”. God has to change the way we think. You see, the transformed Christian has the mind of Christ. How do we renew our mind? Through the transforming power of the Word of God. As we spend time daily in the Word, God gradually changes our whole mindset. Instead of thinking the way men think, we begin to see and understand things through the eyes of God. However, this process is dependent upon the fact that we take the time to read and study the Bible. It would seem to me then that we have the power within us to speed up, or hinder  this process. It just makes sense that the Christian that does not open his Bible, will not be transformed as quickly as the one that takes the time daily to meditate upon the truths of God’s Word. We need to make our walk with God a priority if we are going to grow the way God wants us to.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – (2 Corinthians 5:17)


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Giving Back

Today’s Passages – Romans 14 – 16;

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 141 – 145; Proverbs 29)

“But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.” – (Romans 15:25-28)

Here in the concluding chapters of the Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Paul mentions having a desire to eventually travel to Rome on his way to Spain. Interestingly, Paul never gets to Spain, but he will spend some time in a Roman jail because of a series of events that take place in Jerusalem. Anyway, Paul is intent on travelling back to Jerusalem first for a number of reasons mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, but the reason mentioned here was because he was carrying relief money for the poor saints in Jerusalem that was collected from the Gentile churches in Macedonia and Achaia.

The thing that caught my attention this morning was that Paul mentions here that these saints in Greece owed a debt to the saints at Jerusalem. Why was that? Because the gospel mesage that brought salvation to the Grecian peninsula originated in Jerusalem. The saints at Jerusalem invested a great price in order to get the gospel to the rest the world. Notice that it says that these Gentile churches were giving to meet the carnal needs of the people of Jerusalem, because they were suffering financially. They needed food, clothing, and shelter, because they had lost these things because of their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scripture uses this same illustration regarding how God’s people should meet the needs of those that minister to them spiritually:

“If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? … Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” – (1 Corinthians 9:11, 13-14)

People who are in the ministry do not (or should not) do what they do for any financial benefit, but they should not have to worry about their carnal needs while they minister. A preacher who has to spend a great deal of his time trying to earn income will not have the time or energy he needs to effectively minister to the people of God.

As Christians, we must recognize that we all owe a debt, ultimately to the Lord; but also to the people that have given to us the spiritual blessings that we enjoy. There are many people who have paid a dear price to get me to where I am today spiritually. I owe them. I may not be able to repay all of them in some tangible way, but I can pay the debt by making sure that I am doing what I can do to reinvest what has been given to me back into the work of the Lord. I can give to somebody else, what has been freely given to me.


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And Can It Be

Today’s Passages – Romans 1 – 3; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 120 – 125; Proverbs 25)

Memory passage for the month of November – Psalm 95

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” – (Romans 3:21-22)

Years ago, Pastor Wedemeyer was preaching from this portion of Scripture, and he asked the question: “How many of you believe that because of salvation, you are positionally as righteous as Jesus is?” I was not too surprised to see that nobody’s hand went up. However, Pastor Rick pointed out from the Scriptures that because of the blood of Christ, we that have trusted Jesus are seen in the sight of God just as holy and righteous as the Son of God. That is an amazing truth. I know who I am, and I know what Ive done. How could God just write off all of the debt that I have accumulated and continue to accumulate in my life? It’s only because of what Jesus did for me (and you) on the cross. What a wonderful and awesome God we serve!

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:12)

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – (Isaiah 1:18)

“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” – (Romans 4:7-8)

My sin is gone. Jesus took all of it upon Himself on the cross; and in exchange He gave me a robe of pure righteousness. Amazing love – how can it be?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.



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Just One More Thing

Today’s Passages – Romans 14 – 16; Proverbs 29

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 141 – 145)

“For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” – (Romans 16:19)

Have you ever noticed that the Book of Romans has a strange ending. Notice the last verse of chapter 15:

“Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” – (Romans 15:33)

It almost seems that Romans 15:33 would be the last verse of the letter; but then we turn the page and see that God has more to say. In chapter 16, however, we mostly see Paul’s acknowledgement of some of his friends and co-laborers both in Rome and in Corinth. This letter to the Romans was written from Corinth. There is, however, a little tidbit of instruction in middle of all the salutations in chapter 16. Notice vv. 17 – 20:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” – (Romans 16:17-20)

It is almost as if Paul had thought of one more important thing to tell these Christians in Rome. He wants them to be “simple”, which literally means pure or unmixed, to that which is evil; and wise to that which is good. God wanted them to be unlearned or ignorant to evil. We often think about ignorance as a bad thing, but ignorance concerning evil is a good thing. It seems that Paul was particularly concerned in this context with the evil involving false doctrine.

The world that we are living in is full of all kinds of evil. It takes a good deal of effort on our part to keep all of the evil out of our minds and homes, but it is important that we strive to do so. There is so much evil information bombarding our brains these days, it is difficult to keep it from coming in. When I think about the television in my home, I am reminded that much of what comes through it is evil, in that it floods my home with a worldly philosophy that actually fights against the mind of Christ; and the TV is just one of many avenues the devil uses today to bring evil doctrine into our lives. If the truth be told, we would have to confess that most of us who claim to be Christians today are wise to evil, but simple concerning the things of God. What a shame. Maybe we should cut off some of the sources of evil that are flowing into our homes, and instead open up our Bibles and receive wisdom regarding the goodness of God.


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Be Ye Transformed

Today’s Passages – Romans 11 – 13; Proverbs 28

(Second Milers also read – Psalm 136 – 140)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:1-2)

In the Greek language, the word that is translated into the English word “transformed” is the word metamorphoo, which is the same word root word that names the process of metamorphosis. You may remember from high school biology that metamorphosis is the biological process by which a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. By the way, isn’t amazing that our God can take a something as “creepy-crawly” as a caterpillar and completely change it into a beautiful butterfly. God transforms the Christian in much the same way. He takes the worldly child of Adam and forms him into the image of Christ.

Notice from our text above that this transformation process comes through the “renewing of your mind”. God has to change the way we think. You see, the transformed Christian has the mind of Christ. How do we renew our mind? Through the transforming power of the Word of God. As we spend time daily in the Word, God gradually changes our whole mindset. Instead of thinking the way men think, we begin to see and understand things through the eyes of God. However, this process is dependent upon the fact that we take the time to read and study the Bible. It would seem to me then that we have the power within us to speed up, or hinder  this process. It just makes sense that the Christian that does not open his Bible, will not be transformed as quickly as the one that takes the time daily to meditate upon the truths of God’s Word. We need to make our walk with God a priority if we are going to grow the way God wants us to.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – (2 Corinthians 5:17)

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Paul’s Motivation – Love

Today’s Passages – Romans 8 – 10; Proverbs 27

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 131 – 135)

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” – (Romans 9:1-3)

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” – (Romans 10:1)

Did you ever think about the reason why people like the Apostle had such passion and motivation for preaching the gospel? Did they do simply out of obedience to the call of God? Or, perhaps was there an underlying cause that pushed men like Paul. I believe the answer to that question for Paul can be seen in the verses above. Paul loved his people, Israel. I do not believe that he was just “blowing smoke” when he said that he was willing to give up his own salvation if that were possible in order that Israel be saved. Paul was not acting out of mere duty and obedience. There is no way that Paul could have endured all of the beatings and imprisonments unless there was a burning desire within him to see his nation saved. In fact, I believe Paul’s love for his people caused him at one point to disobey God. If you carefully study Paul’s last trip to Jerusalem in the Book of Acts you will find that God warned Paul twice not to go to Jerusalem (see Acts 21:4 & 11); and we he got there Jesus told him to leave (see Acts 22:17 & 18). Paul actually argued with the Lord about it. Now I do not believe God ever wants us to be disobedient, but at least Paul’s contention with the Lord was because of his desire to see the Jews saved.

How much do you and I love the people around us? How much do we care about their salvation? What sacrifices will we be willing to make in order that the people that we love receive the truth? We have very few Apostle Pauls on the scene today who are pouring themselves out in the work of God. Perhaps it is because we are too self-centered, loving ourselves far more than we love others. Whatever the reason, we can certainly see that our evangelistic efforts today are not reaping the same type of results that Paul saw in his day. Maybe this is what the Psalmist was trying to tell us in Psalm 126:

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” – (Psalm 126:5-6)

Our lack of tears is indicative of our lack of love for the people around us. We need more people today who will be willing to lay their own lives on the line in order to reach their world with the Gospel. Paul literally laid his life down as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). We could use a few more living sacrifices in our world today.


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Are You Glorying? – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passages – Romans 4 – 7; Proverbs 26

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 126 – 130; Memorize – Romans 1:21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Good Morning! Are you glorying this morning? Do you have Jesus as your own personal Saviour? Then you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And you also have access by faith to His grace. But what I really want to focus on is verses 3 through 5: we can glory in tribulations. From tribulation we get patience, from patience comes experience. From experience we get hope. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Are you glorying yet?

If you want to see a good illustration of how we glory in tribulation, go to www.lancasterbaptist.org and look for a video sermon called ‘Stewarding Trials.’ What it boils down to is that we keep God’s good gifts, and throw away those we perceive as being bad. But according to this passage, what we believe to be bad things are actually good: we can glory in tribulations. We get patience, experience, and hope.

Let me give you the three points I gave on Wednesday night. The first was what Bro. Gerald always says: “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” God is perfect, so His goodness is perfect. And that brings us to the second point. James 1:17 tells us that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” The gifts, or blessings we get from Him are good and perfect. The third point came from Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

So, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

God’s gifts are good and perfect.

And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And adding Romans 5:3 to this list: we can glory in our tribulations: they are good and perfect gifts from God.

When we get to a point where we fully understand the sovereignty of God, that He is in control of everything, it will motivate us to look for God’s purpose in everything. It will be easier for us to submit to His will. These “good” gifts will remind us of our dependence on God. They will get our focus back on the Lord and off our circumstances. Remember Peter walking on the water: he took his eyes of Jesus, and started to sink. But the Lord was there to keep him from drowning. All our anxiety, and worry can be placed on the Lord. Just know that…

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

God’s gifts are good and perfect.

And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Are you glorying yet?

Peace (Romans 5:1)


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Amazing Love – How Can It Be?

Today’s Passages – Romans 1 – 3; Proverbs 25

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 120 – 125; Memorize – Romans 1:21)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” – (Romans 3:21-22)

Years ago, Pastor Wedemeyer was preaching from this portion of Scripture, and he asked the question: “How many of you believe that because of salvation, you are positionally as righteous as Jesus is?” I was not too surprised to see that nobody’s hand went up. However, Pastor Rick pointed out from the Scriptures that because of the blood of Christ, we that have trusted Jesus are seen in the sight of God just as holy and righteous as the Son of God. That is an amazing truth. I know who I am, and I know what Ive done. How could God just write off all of the debt that I have accumulated and continue to accumulate in my life? It’s only because of what Jesus did for me (and you) on the cross. What a wonderful and awesome God we serve!

“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” – (Psalm 103:12)

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” – (Isaiah 1:18)

“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” – (Romans 4:7-8)

My sin is gone. Jesus took all of it upon Himself on the cross; and in exchange He gave me a robe of pure righteousness. Amazing love – how can it be?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.


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Responsibility

Today’s Passage – Romans 14 – 16

It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. (Romans 14:21)

There is a lot of talk these days about liberty. As New Testament Christians we have been made free from the bondage of the law, but that does not give us license to sin; and it does not give us the right to use our liberty to cause a weaker brother in Christ to stumble and fall. We no longer have an exhaustive list of do’s and dont’s to live by (or not live by). We live by faith, but the Bible tells us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

In our fundamental churches across America, many things are preached against. Each church is different. Some churches are a little more separated than others are. Some have long lists of leadership (and even membership) requirements; but even these churches could not possibly completely specify what is right for every given situation. However, as believers, we have the indwelling Spirit of God, which will guide us into all truth, and help us decide what is right and what is wrong. We must remember, though, that we must take into account that what we do affects other people. Let me give you an example that I have heard many times: Let’s say that I feel that a glass of wine every now and then is acceptable (by the way, I don’t), and God would not prohibit me from drinking in moderation. I may have the liberty to do that; I mean I’m saved eternally, aren’t I? and that glass of wine may not be a problem for me.  However, what I must take into consideration that by drinking the wine, I may be influencing a younger brother in Christ the wrong way. He may not be able to handle it, it may cause him to fall away from God, and do injury to himself and others. The bottom line is that there are things that I may have the liberty to do, which may cause my brother to stumble and fall. I therefore have to understand that I have a responsibility before God to be a proper example and influence to my children, and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

The wine example is just one of many I can think of. This principle can be applied to many areas: television, music, movies, occupations; the list goes on and on. You and I must follow the principles of the Word of God, and the leadership of the Spirit of God in every decision, so that the liberties we take do not adversely affect anyone else. No man is an island: we don’t live to ourselves; our lives are intertwined together; and we are our brother’s keeper. I am not trying to turn us into a bunch of Pharisees who spend their time micro-examining everybody else’s lives, I am merely advocating that we assume some responsibility regarding our influence on others. And the higher we are in leadership, the greater the influence we have, and the greater the responsibility we must accept.


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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: Romans 8-10.

Romans 8:37 – Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Good morning. I know it’s early, but the question I want to pose today is this: are you a conqueror, or more than a conqueror? What or who do you think about when you here the word conqueror? Do you think of Communist leaders like Lenin, or chairman Mao, who murdered people to gain power? Chairman Mao’s policies are credited to the deaths of 77 million people. Do you think of the Faciests like Hitler, who took a massive army and conquered most of Europe. Do you think about the Catholic church which sent out an army of Crusaders to force people to convert over to their form of religion? Do you think about the Muslims who butchered 50,000 Christians in the city of Fez, in Moroco? What about Nero, who dipped Christians in wax, mounted them on a pole, and then set them on fire to light his palace? But we are more than conquerors! We are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ!

We are more than conquerors MENTALLY

Philippians 2: 5-11 says: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And God is conforming us to the image of His Son. We can have the mind of Christ. We are more than conquerors!

We are more than conquerors PHYSICALLY.

We can do all things – Philippians 4:13; We can endure all things – 2Timothy 2:1-10: because we are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ! Think about Stephen who saw heaven opened revealing the Lord standing, and waiting for his arrival in heaven. Think about the multitude of Christians who went to their deaths and onto eternal life because of their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!

And we are more than conquerors SPIRITUALLY.

Romans 8:2 tells us: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Read the rest of chapter 8 about the working of the Holy Spirit. You will come to the same conclusion that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”

Peace (John 14:27)


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Peace

Today’s Reading – Romans 4 – 6

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1)

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partitionbetween us; (Ephesians 1:14)

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:20

What does it mean to have peace with God? The Scriptures referenced above and many others in the Bible indicate very clearly that we who have been born again through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have peace:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Let me summarize a few thoughts on this peace that God gives His children:

1  Peace is the absence of conflict. The Bible indicates that we were at enmity with God because of our sin. We were born in a sinful condition and we continued in that state until we received the forgiveness that comes through a relationship with Christ. I am no longer God’s enemy. I am His child.

2  Peace is the absence of worry. I no longer have to worry about “the wages of sin”. Hell is no longer an option for me. I have been forgiven from all sins: past, present, and future; and I have a place reserved for me in Heaven. I don’t deserve any of it, but God in His grace loved me enough to save me. God not only frees me from worry regarding my eternal destiny, but as I yield myself to His will and His Spirit in this life, I can also be free from the worries that so often plague us all. Will I be provided for? Will I be protected? I am assured through the Word of God that as I seek Him first, He will take care of all of the rest.

3  Peace is the absence of turmoil. Life these days seems to be full of stress and turmoil; but again as we yield to God in our lives, and live according to the plan laid out for us in His Word, I can dramatically reduce the amount of stress that I experience in my life. And even when life gets a little bumpy I am assured of grace which is sufficient to give me an inner peace even in in the most turbulent storms.

Do you have peace? You can have it only if you are in a right relationship with God. Receive Him as your Saviour, and then yield your life to Him. Most of the world knows nothing about real peace, but for God’s children peace should and can be just a normal part of life.


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s Passage – Romans 1 – 3

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:21)

I woke up this morning a little before 6; and I started to go through my normal routine of making coffee, and going to my chair in the living room to read God’s Word. But this morning things were different in my house. Nearly every room in the house had people sleeping in it, including the living room. Last evening, Katelyn’s mother and brother arrived; and early this morning Sami, Melissa, and Wesley came in. It’s been a long time since the whole family was all together. What a joy to spend this Thanksgiving with family. I am truly blessed of God.

I didn’t forget about the text. In this morning’s reading, I noticed in the latter part of the Roman’s 1, Paul gives a list of what man is capable of in his worst state. The description given there includes a list of some of the most wicked sins imaginable. We see this list of sins displayed before our eyes every day in this ungodly world that we live in. However, the people who are guilty of these things in our text did not start out in such a state. The Bible reveals that at one time these people knew God. The problem started back in verse 21, where the Scripture reveals that they did not give God the glory; they were not thankful. A lack of thanksgiving to God, and to people whom God has used in your life is a first step in a downward spiral which will ultimately lead to an immoral, godless lifestyle.

Thanksgiving begins in our attitude. You cannot sincerely express thanksgiving unless it is in your heart. We all need to examine our hearts to see if we have the right attitude. Do you find yourself often looking on the dark side of life? Is your cup always half empty instead of mostly full? Do you find yourself envious of what others may possess? Do you whine and complain a lot about your circumstances. If you do, you have an attitude problem that only God can fix. But it can be fixed. You must first confess to God the sin of ingratitude and discontentment. Then you must ask Him to help you change your perspective on life. It really is a matter of perspective. Have you ever seen on television children from a third world country, living in the most deplorable conditions, playing contentedly, seemingly oblivious to their adverse circumstances? Have you ever known a person who struggled with a debilitating and painful illness who seemed to always have a smile on their face? These people have a positive outlook on life. They have a good perspective. You and I live in America, and most of us have health, yet we complain constantly like spoiled children. We need to look at life differently.

On a practical level, there are some things that you and I can do that will help change our perspective. For instance, you could write in a journal or a diary a list of the blessings that God has given you. When you find yourself feeling negative and down on your life you can pull it out and review how really blessed you are. Take time to think about the good things that God has done for you. If we really think about it, we all have been blessed of God far more that we could possibly deserve.

Once you get the attitude right, it will be easy for you to express gratitude and thanksgiving audibly, and through some tangible actions. Take some time today to think about what you are thankful for and who you are thankful for, and then go through the process of expressing your thanks to the people who have been a blessing to you; and most of all to God, who has sent those blessings your way.


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